Fairstone pave way for post Covid world by launching new remote advice process

Fairstone, one of the UK’s largest Chartered financial planning firms, has launched a new digital remote advice solution enabling the firm to fully engage with clients in a no-contact environment.

The wealth management house is one of the first national firms to launch an entirely remote advice process and the ZETO (zero touch) solution enables the firm to offer a unique hybrid approach to engaging with clients, that enables all aspects of a face-to-face consultation to be delivered entirely in virtual form.

Fairstone’s ZETO solution, which is powered by Microsoft Teams, is intuitive and includes a pre-meeting digital introduction to the process as well as customisable presentation and guidance tools. This functionality, together with an embedded e-sign solution which is fully integrated with Adobe Sign, enables end-to-end paperless processing to be done simply and securely.

The new service, which provides a safe and efficient client experience that pragmatically removes the need to interact in person, comes in response to the current climate and follows on from recent research carried out by Fairstone among consumers and their own advisers.

This research conducted across social media revealed that a combined total of 88% of consumers would be happy to conduct virtual meetings with their advisers, with 73% stating that interactive video conference was their preferred method of a virtual meeting. Consumers polled added that the things that would reassure them most when taking part in a virtual meeting were being able to see who they were talking to (66%) and the security of the application being used (24%).

Meanwhile advisers polled in a separate survey revealed that their clients stated they preferred a mix of face-to-face and remote meetings, with 49% saying that they like face-to-face interaction and 33% stating that they love remote meetings. In the survey, advisers also highlighted many advantages to working remotely including more effective use of time, positive client feedback, work/life balance, and more time to spend with clients.

Fairstone CEO Lee Hartley said: “As a technology leveraged firm, we have always taken pride in being operationally agile. By taking a flexible and adaptable approach, we have been able to incorporate the lessons and best practice we have learned from our period of working from home.

“While face-to-face and direct contact with clients will always remain at the core of our business, technology can allow advisers to work more efficiently and spend more time with clients.

“Championing a new innovative world of working, which seamlessly combines first-class remote and real-life practices, will enable us as a firm to embrace the best of both worlds. Our aim is to engage with clients in a secure and sustainable way to ensure we maintain the highest standard of service.

“ZETO reinforces Fairstone’s commitment to making wellbeing a priority, supporting new and existing clients in a zero-touch environment without any interruption to operational output or most importantly, service levels.

“This move represents another differentiator in our strategy – the key part is to decide just how much of our business we want to deliver in this way and for which workstreams does ZETO become our default.”

ZETO, which has been developed to ensure compliance from both a regulatory and GDPR perspective, differs from automated advice in that it mimics a face-to-face consultation, with the client being able to see and communicate with their trusted adviser as if they were in person. The ability to screen share, transfer files, execute documents and use illustration in real-time, as well as record the session and append notes, means that the solution supports client consultations in a fully-featured manner.

Headquartered in Newcastle, Fairstone is the number one ranked wealth management firm on Trustpilot* with over 65,000 clients and operates nationally across 42 locations.

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